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A quarantine dinner for two:
Tequila and Grapefruit Paloma Cocktail
 Warm Beetroot Salad with Maple Orange Vinaigrette
Tomahawk with White Bean Purée & Roasted Cipollini Onions

Life in isolation has been an interesting experience. Catching a glimpse of the world from afar, never has humanity been so united while living apart. The very mediums that have been criticized over the years for creating social disconnect now act as the glue that keeps us connected. Although there’s a touch of wink-inducing irony to that, as the world stands today, nothing can be closer to the truth.

Currently on lockdown away from my home in Dubai, I’m grateful for anything that gives me a sense of normalcy. Watching Lindsay Trivers, Sommelier-In-Chief of Dubai’s Tasting Class give live, virtual wine tastings on Instagram has been fun, interactive, and something I look forward to at a time where routine and certainty have been thrust out the window. It’s also turned me into a day drinker with the time difference between Dubai and Montreal, but that’s another article altogether.

For those of you lucky enough to be canoodling with another human in your non-socially-distant-airspace, I’ve teamed up with Lindsay to create a cocktail and wine pairing in a quarantine dinner for two. Starting with a warm beetroot salad, followed by a juicy Tomahawk steak – most ingredients are relatively easy to source along with a few refrigerator and pantry staples. This is the time to make recipe adjustments if some of the ingredients are elusive (ie. honey instead of maple syrup, orange juice or lemon in place of fresh oranges). And if by chance there’s no one in your immediate vicinity to share a meal with, just save the leftovers for yet another (groundhog) day. *All recipes are below.

For our first course, a warm beetroot salad with goat’s cheese and maple orange vinaigrette, Lindsay suggests pairing it with the Paloma, a classic cocktail made of tequila and pink grapefruit. “A salad with citrus or vinaigrette always needs a tangy drink to match the acid,” explains Lindsay “this is where the grapefruit juice comes in. Tequila is full of earthy vegetal notes to reflect the flavors of the beetroot. Goat cheese is refreshing and tangy with herbal notes, and bridges the flavors of this cocktail too.”

For our main course, a massive Tomahawk steak, Lindsay has paired it with a Cabernet Sauvignon.   “When the meat is cooked the fat caramelizes, rendering a very juicy steak,” Says Lindsay, “Cabernet Sauvignon is high in tannins. This is a protein that causes the dry, grippy sensation on your palate. Fat and tannins bond together, so the high tannin wines are great at clearing the palate between bites of steak. Likewise, the juicy steak will make the tannins feel smoother, softer and fruitier on your palate.” We’ve chosen 19 Crimes from Australia, which is perfect with our beautifully marbled piece of meat. If you can’t find 19 Crimes, try another good Cabernet Sauvignon of your choice.

If you don’t have access to a Tomahawk (many butchers deliver), feel free to use a filet mignon (or tenderloin) or a rib-eye steak, keep in mind that cooking times will vary depending on the cut and thickness of your meat.

If you think you’ll have room for dessert, go ahead and try my Chocolate Soufflé recipe. Not only is it easy to make, you can prepare it ahead of time, store it in the fridge for up to three days, and bake it when you’re ready to eat it.

Happy Cooking!

The Paloma – makes one drink

As this recipe is meant to be easy enough for the locked-down home bartender, Lindsay wanted to choose a cocktail with ingredients that can be pulled off at home – keeping things simple yet elegant with ingredients that are easy to access. 

“We’ve modified this cocktail recipe using maple syrup as the sweetening agent as opposed to simple sugar syrup as it’s likely that people might have some stocked their fridge already. It also builds a flavor bridge – the common matching flavor between a dish and a drink – with the salad as maple syrup was used in the dressing”.  

Ingredients:

  • Ice cubes
  • 50 ml (1.5 shots) of tequila. Ideally a reposado tequila (“rested” tequila, typically aged 60 days and up to one year), but whatever you have will work
  • 50 ml (1.5 shots) of grapefruit juice (pink if possible)
  • 15 ml lime juice (half a lime squeezed)
  • 15 ml of maple syrup or simple sugar syrup
  • Soda water
  • Thin slices of lime to garnish

Directions:

Fill a rocks glass with ice. The more ice you put in the less diluted your drink will get.

Add your tequila, followed by your grapefruit juice

Give it a generous squeeze of lime juice, then stir in your maple syrup.

Stir gently to mix ingredients.

Top with soda water.

Garnish with a few thin slices of lime and drink immediately.

Warm Beetroot Salad with Goat’s Cheese and Orange Maple Vinaigrette – Serves 2 to 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium beetroots (golden, chioggia, or a mix of both)
  • One tablespoon grape-seed oil or any other neutral flavored oil
  • Juice of one orange
  • One tablespoon Maple Syrup (substitute with honey if you can’t find maple syrup)
  • One small red onion or shallot, thinly sliced
  • One bunch baby greens such as arugula, spinach, or mâche
  • One avocado (optional)
  • One log of soft goat’s cheese (about 100 grams)
  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts (or other toasted nuts of your choice)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Wrap beetroot in foil and bake for 45 min to 1 hour or until fork tender.

While still warm, carefully peel the beets and cut into wedges.

Whisk together oil, orange juice, and maple syrup. Taste dressing and add more or less juice, syrup or oil, depending on preference.

Add vinaigrette to the beets while still warm and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add sliced onion.

Toss with baby greens, top with avocado (if using), goat’s cheese, pine nuts and serve.

Tomahawk with white bean purée & honey roasted cipollini onions – Serves 2 to 4

*You will need either a bbq, a cast-iron pan, or heavy bottomed frying pan. If you are using a pan instead of a bbq, make sure to have your butcher removes enough of the bone so that the steak fits into your pan.

For the Tomahawk:

  • One 1.4 kg to 1.6 kg Tomahawk – rib-eye steak on the bone
  • Coarse sea salt, enough to cover both sides of the meat (Maldon is always my favorite)
  • Cracked black pepper – place a small handful of peppercorns in a small plastic bag and give it a few whacks until the pepper is aromatic and breaks into coarse pieces
  • If cooking on a pan, you will need two tablespoons of duck fat

Directions:

Remove the meat from the refrigerator 1.5 to 2 hours prior to cooking in order to bring it to room temperature. (Note – If your Tomahawk comes frozen, you’ll need to thaw it in the refrigerator for at least 48 hours before you want to cook it).

Preheat grill or griddle pan over medium high heat.

Season both sides of the meat generously with salt and pepper, gently patting it on the flesh so it sticks to each side.

BBQ Directions:

Place the Tomahawk on the grill, and let it cook, undisturbed, for five minutes.

After five minutes, rotate the meat 45 degrees, and cook for another 3 minutes longer, until the meat is beautifully grilled on the exterior (you want that characteristic grill mark pattern on the meat if possible)

Carefully lift the meat, and repeat on the other side for 7 to 8 minutes max.

Stove-top/pan Directions:

Preheat your pan over medium high heat. Once hot, add the duck fat, then your meat.

Let it cook, undisturbed, for five minutes. Carefully turn over, and continue to cook for another 4 minutes, or until the meat has a beautiful, crusted brown exterior.

*Note that the timings I’m giving you will result in a rare Tomahawk with a seared and crusted exterior. Add approximately 2 to 3 minutes per side if you would like a medium rare steak. Here is an internal temperature guide for your reference (you will need a meat thermometer if you wish to gauge the internal temperature).

After cooking/grilling, let the meat rest for 8 to 10 minutes to seal in the juices (cutting into it prematurely can result in dry meat as the juices will run out).

For the white bean and roasted garlic purée:
  • 1 head garlic – bulb intact, with the top ¼ inch removed to expose the raw garlic
  • 400 grams of cooked white cannellini beans (you can use the equivalent in canned)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chicken stock
  • ¾ teaspoon salt (taste to see if you need more)
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 Celsius)

Wrap the garlic bulb in foil. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the garlic is cooked through and reaches a consistency that’s as soft as butter. Release the garlic from its bulb by gently squeezing through its bottom (the garlic will ooze out of each clove like toothpaste from a tube).

With a hand blender, purée the white beans, roasted garlic, olive oil, chicken stock, and salt. Blend until smooth and silky. Give it a quick taste and add more salt if needed.

For the Cipollini onions:
  • 8 cipollini onions
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine or balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cups honey
  • A few sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed (optional)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (180 Celsius)

Add the onions to a large bowl, cover with hot water and allow to sit for about 5 minutes which will make peeling the onions simple. Strain onions and peel.

In a small bowl, whisk together oil, red wine or vinegar, honey, salt and pepper. Pour over the onions and toss to coat.

In an oven-proof sauté pan over medium-high heat, add about 2 tablespoons olive oil and heat. Once hot, add the onions. Next, place the sauté pan into the preheated oven and roast for 18 to 20 minutes, until the onions are soft and slightly caramelized.

To plate:

Swirl a little white bean purée onto your plates. After letting the meat rest, carefully carve the meat off the bone, then cut into slices of your desired thickness and arrange beside the purée. Add the cipollini onions and serve with the Cabernet Sauvignon.

*Special Thanks to Lindsay Trivers of  The Tasting Class for her time and expertise, and to Raphaël Beaubien at IGA’s butchery shop for sourcing a fabulous cut of meat at a moment’s notice.

Tune in to the Tasting Class’ Virtual Wine Tasting every second weekday on Instagram or Facebook or head on to their website to check out everything you’ll need to know about wine and more in the UAE.

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